[[The game]]Since its release in the early nineties, the one thing that has constantly improved in the Need for Speed series (other than the graphics) is the amount of cars that are available in the game. The first game featured fewer than ten cars (eight I believe). The latest addition of the Need For Speed series was Need for Speed: High Stakes, which featured a total of eighteen cars. Of course this doesn't include the bonus cars and the almost obscene amount of custom-made cars that have appeared on the Internet.
But now the designers of the next NFS line have a new idea. Decrease the kinds of cars. No that's not a typo, Need For Speed: Porsche Unleashed, due out this spring, will feature ONLY Porsche cars. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, considering you will be able to drive every Porsche ever made.
The designers of the game wanted to focus on a driving experience that will guide the player through the evolution of the company, certainly Porsche Unleashed does this. Porsche (the company) has also partnered with Electronic Arts to provide the NFS team the best possible access to the cars, so they can be modeled accurately on the computer. Inside the garage, not only will you be able to customize the outside of your car, but you will also get to see the inside, in full 3D graphics, thanks to the Porsche license.
The game will feature several different modes of play. The first will be the Factory Driver mode where you will play a test driver for the Porsche Corporation. (What a kick ass job!) They will feature courses such as slalom runs and performing tests on the car like controlled skidding and most likely speed courses. (Unfortunately I doubt if Porsche does crash tests on the road ;)) Another gameplay mode will be called Evolution. It will be similar to the career mode in High Stakes. You will start in 1948, when Porsche's first road car was released. As you win races, you can buy new parts and even new Porsche models. But it might not always be wise to sell your old '48 356, keep it for 20 years, and it'll probably be worth more that what you paid for it. Of course, you will also have your quick race where you can race with similar cars or cars from the same era.
The most noticeable thing about Porsche Unleashed is the new graphics engine that the developers have decided to put in. NFS III and High Stakes were filled with cars that looked too shiny for their own good, pavement smoother than silk and trees that looked like they came out of some sort of neo-modern painting. However with Porsche Unleashed, the developers are putting in a new engine that will have more diffused lighting and softer colors that will make the graphics seem infinitely more realistic. Just look at the screenshots.
The tracks in Porsche Unleashed are also phenomenal. Personally, I think they are reminiscent of NFS II, which featured some of the best use of matte paintings incorporated with animation ever. Looks like Porsche Unleashed will be bringing back some of that, except that technology has advanced far enough to the point where the computer animations look like matte paintings. The scenery is simply incredible. And the whole racing tracks also provide you with far more space to maneuver.
Looks like Porsche Unleashed will be a worthy successor to the NFS throne, and lets hope it is, cause some of these screenshots just made me drool.